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Creating a Healthy School/ Child Care Environment

As stated in the previous post, what children observe and learn at child care and school are going to affect their future. Or more importantly, any lack is going to result in lacks in their lifestyle habits. These institutions need to implement in their curriculum physical education and health education by trained professionals who can create the age appropriate curriculums for physical and health education (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 9).

            One of the first changes that need to occur is re-implementing physical education in schools for all grades, and requiring physical activity from children in child care (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 9).  The curriculum will include specific amounts of time that each age group is required to have physical activity. This minimum required time does not only need to happen in structured physical education classes (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 9). By allowing them time to have unstructured time to play they will be more likely to find physical activity that they enjoy and will want to do (Warren and Smalley 9). Another goal is to get them away from sitting in class all day, possibly using technology, and getting them to move around and engage with other children in ways other than classroom learning (Parker et al., 23).

There should be health education every year with an emphasis on nutrition (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 9).  An important way for children to learn about a particular topic is by doing hands on experiences. If schools create a garden, and children utilize it by gardening themselves it will teach them how rewarding eating what they have grown is (Parker et al., 18). Or the school could participate in the Farm to School program, where farms and schools create agreements and the farm provides food for the local school (Parker et al., 15). When students are able to see the farm process and have a garden at a young age it becomes a norm for them to have healthy fresh produce (Parker et al., 15).

School cafeterias need to change and cafeteria cooks need to be trained in cooking healthy (Parker et al., 9). When they are trained to cook for children in a healthy way then they will be able to decide what food to get, and cook options that are healthy for students (Parker et al., 9-10). If the cafeteria provides appealing healthy options to students which include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein with limited access to high calorie snacks the students would be more inclined to eat that for lunch (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 9).

Just like in the household the teachers and school staff should be modeling healthy behaviors for the children. By setting up wellness policies for the staff they will be role models for the children (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 9). The school need to work with parents as well, educating them on the importance of the health curriculum being taught in the school (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 9). Schools need to provide parents with resources that reinforces what is taught in school so they can promote positive health messages at home (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 9). The next post is exploring another institution that is incorporated into the epidemic in a different way than the household and educational institutions and that is the health care facilities.

Work Cited

Parker, Lynn, Emily Ann Miller, Elena Ovaitt, and Stephen Olson. Alliances for Obesity

Prevention: Finding Common Ground. Washington D.C.: The National Academics Press, 2012. Print.

United States Senate. “Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic.”

U.S. Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 4 March 2010.

Hearing. Web. 1 November 2013.

Warren, Jacob C. and K. Bryant Smalley. “Always the Fat Kid: The Truth About the Enduring

Effects of Childhood Obesity.” New York: Pagrave Macmillan. 2013. Print.

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Parents are the Child’s Support System

The last post discussed parents’ habits that may not have been best for their children’s healthy lifestyle. This post is going to explore options parents can make to help their children. One of the first issues is the reestablishment of the presence and role of parents in the meal process (Warren and Smalley 36). Families are rarely having dinner together during the week, and this causes a lack of parents’ help in shaping their children’s meals since the children are missing the educational factor about cooking and meal composition by their parents (Warren and Smalley 36).

The parents need to become involved in teaching important lifestyle messages to their children since if parents are involved in the process it is more effective. It can be a family effort rather than directed solely at children. This will make it more social by bringing the family together and not making the child feel they are the outcast of the family. The healthy lifestyle that the child is taught and accustomed to is the one that they are going to view as normal and continue as they get older and remove themselves from the control of their parents.

Many people lack knowledge about obesity (Parker et al., 49). Also, many parents are oblivious to the reality of their children’s appearance (Parker et al., 49). Parents are in an act of denial and are not coming to terms with what the medical professionals are telling them about their children’s weight (Parker et al., 49). The parents do not feel a threat when they find out that their child is in the highest percentile, since there are many other children who are overweight, so it is not a problem that their child is (Parker et al., 49). These attitudes need to be changed. Being overweight is not just a phase that all children go through, and it is hard to reverse weight issues once they occur. It is better to take the medical professional advice and change the lifestyle and actions of the child when it can be easier to monitor them. Parents are not realizing that their child has a weight issue which needs to be handled because it is adversely affecting their child in many ways.

Once parents accept their child’s weight issue child has, they need to educate the child. Parents do not like talking about weight with their children because they do not think it is an important topic and would rather talk about safe sex, drugs, smoking, and alcohol (Warren and Smalley 49). Parents believe this discussion is not their job and is best when the medical professionals do so (Warren and Smalley 49). This is a negative way of thinking about the child becoming aware of the issue and its effects on them. Even when they are told by the medical professional it might not last once they leave the doctors if their parents do not reinforce the message and show support. They need to help them resolve this issue by making changes within the family and taking responsibility for the actions of their children and helping monitor their behaviors. Ideally this would include telling them to go outside and exercise while they are making a healthy, balanced meal. There needs to be openness between parents and children and for all to understand the long term importance of lifestyle changes. Parents cannot shy away from the topic and need to be educated in knowing what is best to say and the actions that are best. The next post is going to explore the role of child care and schools.

Work Cited

Parker, Lynn, Emily Ann Miller, Elena Ovaitt, and Stephen Olson. Alliances for Obesity

Prevention: Finding Common Ground. Washington D.C.: The National Academics Press, 2012. Print.

Warren, Jacob C. and K. Bryant Smalley. “Always the Fat Kid: The Truth About the Enduring

Effects of Childhood Obesity.” New York: Pagrave Macmillan. 2013. Print.